British clothing brand Ashmei has been making innovative and good-looking cycling kit for a few years, and the Croix De Fer range is a showcase for how the company does things a little differently.
Ashmei Croix De Fer jersey
This isn’t just a cool looking jersey, it uses a super-fine Merino as the base, feeling almost silk-like to touch, and is blended with 35 percent polyester to add some form-fitting elasticity.
Carbon is interwoven to improve the wicking properties. The Croix De Fer transfers moisture away and dries faster than any other Merino jersey I’ve tried.
Detailing is superb; the three rear pockets are well structured, with a smaller zipped valuables pocket. There are neat touches everywhere such as flat-locked seams, great form fit, the Iron Cross — which is found at the summit of the Croix de Fer French Alp climb – reflective detailing and a quality YKK flat-locking full-length zip.
At £129 / $189 it’s not cheap, but when you’re wearing it you can forgive the price, being one of the best summer jerseys I’ve tested.
Ashmei Croix De Fer bib shorts
Ashmei’s bib shorts use a very tightly woven microfibre, which gives the material a strangely crisp feel. Getting them on is an experience, because the tight structure of the fabric means you really have to pull, like putting on a wetsuit.
Once on, they have a strong elastic, supportive fit that does without traditional leg grippers, but I didn’t have any trouble with them riding up.
The material has a truly impressive ability to shed light rain and road spray and the shorts stayed dry apart from when riding in heavy rain.
The plush, deep pad will suit endurance riders, and the bib is heavily vented, stretchy and light, which does feel at odds with the structured fit around the legs.
The braces are highly elastic and at 46mm wide they fit very well and conform to your shoulders, back and chest giving you plenty of flexibility.
The bibs retail for £235 / $340.